February 22, 2024

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Travel Beyond Boundaries

National Travel Survey 2022: Trips by purpose, age and sex

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About this release

The National Travel Survey (NTS) is a household survey of personal travel by residents of England travelling within Great Britain, from data collected via interviews and a seven-day travel diary, which enables analysis of patterns and trends. This release covers the main findings from these travel behaviours during 2022. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from March 2020, has had a substantial impact on travel trends since 2020 and has affected the operation of this survey. Further details on these impacts can be found in the Introduction and main findings section of this report.

Chart 19: Trips per person per year by selected purposes: England, 2002 to 2022 (NTS0403)

During 2022, average trips for all purposes increased compared to the previous year apart from day trips and other including just walk trips which decreased further compared to their all-time high in 2020. However, day trips and other including just walk trips were the only trip purposes to remain higher than pre-pandemic levels with 34 trips per person and 92 trips per person respectively in 2022.

Day trips and other including just walk trips

Day trips include trips for pleasure (not otherwise classified as social or entertainment) within a single day and other including just walk trips include walking trips for pleasure or exercise along public highways, including taking the dog for a walk and jogging.

The most common trip purpose in 2022 was for shopping with 151 trips per person, a 14% increase compared to 2021, but a decrease of 16% compared to 2019. Commuting was the second most common trip purpose in 2022 with 119 trips per person, a 19% increase compared to 2021 (100 trips per person) but a 15% decrease compared to 2019 (140 trips per person). This could reflect the increase in working from home and hybrid working during this time. There was an increase in education trips in 2022 to 62 trips per person, a 24% increase compared to 2021 (50 trips per person), however, 8% less than in 2019 (68 trips per person).

Chart 20: Miles travelled per person per year by selected purposes: England, 2002 to 2022 (NTS0403)

There were similar trends observed in average miles travelled as number of trips by trip purpose in 2022. Distance travelled for all trip purposes increased in 2022 compared to 2021, apart from other including just walk trips which decreased from 111 miles per person in 2021 to 89 miles per person in 2022, however, this was the only trip purpose with a greater distance travelled than 2019 (58 miles per person).

The longest distance travelled was for commuting with 1,008 miles per person in 2022, an increase of 23% compared to 2021 (817 miles per person). This was, however, 21% less than levels in 2019 (1,276 miles per person). The second largest distance travelled on average was for the purpose of visiting friends at home, with 764 miles per person in 2022, an increase of 10% compared to 2021 (695 miles per person), but 12% less than in 2019 (872 miles per person). The third longest distance travelled was for shopping with 570 miles per person in 2022, this was an increase of 22% compared to 2021 (466 miles per person), but a 19% decrease compared to 2019 (700 miles per person).

Chart 21: Average trips made, and miles travelled per person per year by sex: England, 2022 (NTS0601)

In 2022, males made 5% fewer trips (837 trips per person) than females (886 trips per person) but travelled 20% further (5,874 miles per person by males, as opposed to 4,892 miles per person by females). This partly reflects differences in the type of trips made and the mode of travel used, with males making fewer trips but travelling longer distances by car (21% more miles on average), more trips and travelling further by cycling (256% more miles on average or over 3 times more) and shorter and fewer trips by walking (8% less miles on average) than females in 2022. Females made more shopping trips, which tend to be relatively short, whereas males made more commuting and business trips which tend to be longer.

Chart 22: Average trips by sex, age and selected main modes: England, 2002 to 2022 (NTS0601)

Overall walking trip trends by females have fluctuated over the years but have remained fairly stable for age groups between 0 and 29. For age groups 30 and over, walking trips by females have seen an increase in recent years. In 2022, females aged 30 to 39 made the most walking trips with 374 trips per person. Walking trip trends by males have remained stable over the years for all age groups. Males aged 0 to 16 made the most walking trips with 307 trips per person in 2022.

Both males and females aged 21 and over made most of their trips as a car driver in 2022. For the age groups between 17 and 49, trends in car driver trips by females have declined over the years, and for age groups 50 and over increased. Females aged 40 to 49 made the most car driver trips with 519 trips per person in 2022. Males aged 17 to 59 have seen a decrease in car driver trips over the years, and the trend has been stable for males aged 60 to 69 and slightly increased for males aged 70 and over. Males aged 50 to 59 made the most car driver trips in 2022 with 543 trips per person.

Car passenger trips made by females have declined over the years for all age groups apart from those aged 70 and over where trends have been relatively stable. Males have seen a decline in car passenger trips for age groups between 0 and 20, and all other age groups have seen trends that are relatively stable. Both males and females aged 0 to 16 made the most car passenger trips in 2022 with 381 and 391 trips per person respectively.

For all age groups, females have shown a decline in bus trip trends over the years, whereas trends by males have been more stable. For both males and females, those aged 17 to 20 have made the most bus trips in 2022 with 92 and 105 trips per person respectively.

Surface rail trip trends have seen a gradual increase over the years by all age groups 17 and over, which follow a similar pattern for both males and females. Females aged 21 to 29 made the most surface rail trips with 29 trips per person in 2022. Males aged 17 to 20 made the most rail trips with 33 trips per person in 2022.

Chart 23: Average trips by sex, age and selected purposes: England, 2002 to 2022 (NTS0611)

Shopping trip trends have declined over the years for all age groups by males and females up to the age of 69, after which trends have remained stable. Females aged 50 and over and males aged 60 and over made most of their trips for shopping in 2022. Both males and females aged 70 and over made the most shopping trips in 2022 with 251 and 273 trips per person respectively.

Males and females have shown a decline in commuting trips over the years for age groups between 17 and 59, after which the trend is relatively stable. Males made most of their trips for commuting between the age groups of 21 to 59 in 2022. Both males and females aged between 21 to 29 made the most commuting trips with 234 and 207 trips per person respectively in 2022.

Both males and females aged 0 to 16 made most of their trips for education purposes both with 269 trips per person in 2022. The highest escort education trips were made by those aged 30 to 49, more by females than males.

Visiting friends at private home trips have declined over the years for both males and females at all ages up to 59, and after this age have remained stable.

Both males and females aged 70 and over made the most trips for personal business which include trips for medical consultations or treatment, with 125 and 120 trips per person respectively in 2022.

Other including just walk trips have increased in recent years by all age groups for both males and females. Both males and females made the most other including just walk trips aged 60 to 69 with 151 and 160 trips per person respectively in 2022.

Chart 24: Proportion of commuting trips per person per year, by main mode and areas of residence: England, 2022 (ad hoc analyses NTSQ09030)

Outside London residents in England rely on cars for commuting, with 69% of commuting trips made by car by residents from urban areas excluding London, and this increases to 84% by residents in rural areas. Residents from London made the largest proportion of commuting trips by public transport with 46% in 2022, this reduces to 4% for residents living in rural areas. Around 19% of commuting trips are made by walking by residents from urban areas excluding London, and 15% by residents from London.

Background information

The 2022 National Travel Survey (NTS) is the latest in a series of household surveys of personal travel by residents of England travelling within Great Britain, from data collected via interviews and a seven-day travel diary. The NTS is part of a continuous survey that began in 1988, following ad-hoc surveys from the 1960s, which enables analysis of patterns and trends.

Some key uses of the data include describing patterns, for example how different groups of people travel, monitoring trends in travel, including sustainable modes; assessing the potential equality impacts of different groups; and contributing to the evaluation of policies.

We always welcome feedback to help ensure that the survey meets the needs of users, and any feedback provided will help inform the future design and development of the survey. If you have any feedback, please email National Travel Survey statistics.

National Statistics

These statistics are designated as National Statistics. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards as set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics. The Code of Practice for Statistics plays an essential role in ensuring that statistics published by government inspire the public confidence through demonstrating trustworthiness and providing high-quality statistics. These statistics were designated as National Statistics in July 2011. The continued designation was confirmed in September 2018.

Further information about these statistics is available, including:

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